You want a birth you love. Yes, you want a healthy baby and healthy mom. You also want the experience to be memorable as well.
But, sometimes you wonder, is it possible to have a positive birth? For most moms, doubts creep in, especially even when you consider everything else in your life and the recent news about birth outcomes in the United States.
Don’t worry, it was that way for me too.
When you’re preparing to have a baby, you have a lot of demands fighting for your attention at every moment. Classes take time, require a bit of an investment, and sometimes require rearranging work schedules or the sacrifice of a good date night. How do you know if a birthing class is right for you?
As a childbirth educator myself, I am incredibly passionate about birth classes. This is because of the results I see moms get when they full heartedly educate themselves about the process of birth. These moms come to trust their own ability to give birth and the process of birth itself.
Although birth classes have their pros and cons, I believe that a childbirth class is THE most helpful way to prepare for birth.
If you’re desiring a natural experience or want fewer interventions, gaining hands-on knowledge, tools, and practice about labor and delivery is a must.
Let’s find out why. Today I’m sharing the top 10 benefits of taking a childbirth class. So you can see why other parents have turned to childbirth education to have a great birth experience.
They Say Birth Is Hard… But It Doesn’t Have To Be
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1. Gain Important Knowledge About Pregnancy, Labor, And Delivery.
Giving birth the first time can feel a lot like walking into the unknown. Even when you’ve had a baby before, you know that it may be a bit different this time . You might have different challenges. It’s normal to wonder about what happens and what to do when.
That’s why it’s best to learn what will happen to your body during the birth and delivery process through an organized childbirth class. This will allow you to:
Recognize the signs of early labor so that you can remain calm and allow your body to function as it was designed.
Learn the difference between early labor, active labor, transition, and delivering the placenta.
Learn about pain management techniques and the types of medical interventions that may be offered to you.
The knowledge you gain from a childbirth class will give you peace and confidence as you approach your due date!
2. Have A More Positive Birth Outcome
While I believe that birth has the potential to be one of the most empowering events in a woman’s life, you don’t have to look far to know that it is not always a good experience. In fact, some moms experience chlidbirth as distressing and traumatic. One study found that 45% of women experienced trauma in their childbirth experience and about 6% have so much trauma they have PTSD.
These problems can cascade through a woman’s life for years. Women with birth trauma have to learn to deal with anxiety, depression, a feeling of abandonment, guilt and helplessness that was caused by their experience. It is also very difficult on a relationship.
Birth classes help women reduce their chances of feeling out of control and overwhelmed. They also help them develop internal strength and capability as well as develop trustful and respectful realtionships with their care providers. Because of this, even if a woman goes through a difficult birth experience, she is more likely to feel supported and have what she needs to cope with it. And, even better, she is less likely to have a difficult birth in the first place.
Taking a childbirth class is especially important if you are desiring a vaginal birth. Studies have shown that parents that take a childbirth class are more likely to have a vaginal birth and less likely to need a c-section. In fact, a Canadian study concluded that attendance at childbirth education classes was associated with a significantly lower cesarean rates!
So, if you are hoping for a vaginal birth, natural or with an epidrual, but are anxious or worried about your chances of actually having one… The best step you can take is to enroll in a high quality childbirth class. This simple action sets you on a path for an easier and safer birth.
The good news is that taking a childbirth class gives you knowledge and skills that actually reduce your risk of needing interventions:
Not to mention, a childbirth class will help you communicate better with your medical team so you will know if the interventions they are suggesting are for a medical purpose or for convienence. Giving you the chance to make educated, informed decision that keep you in charge of your story.
4. Access Evidence-Based Information While Overcoming Information Overload
It can be tempting to approach birth like a DIY project…taking in all the free content that you can on the internet, reading a book or two, watching some YouTube videos…and calling it good!
And it’s great there is so much free information out there. But, disorganzied, tidbits here and there don’t always give the best result.
A 100 watt light bulb, like the ones we have in our homes, can light a room. However, a 100 watt laser can cut through steel.
Same energy. Diffierent result.
That’s the difference between focused energy, compared to scattered energy. A childbirth class helps you get the exact information you need to get the positive birth you want.
That’s why it’s important to take a childbirth class that will provide you with evidence-based information. When you have access to safe, respectful, evidence-based information…you’ll feel prepared and empowered for whatever birth experience comes your way.
Plus, you’ll gain a trusted resource in your course educator. This will equip you to ask any and all of your questions in a safe space.
5. Gain Confidence.
You may be where I was when I first got pregnant: excited about having a baby, but deep down inside I worried… ‘Can I really do this?’ ‘What if something goes wrong?’ ‘What if it’s too painful?’
These doubts can take away your peace and joy as your due date inches closer and closer.
Studies show that when we expect pain, our body will tense and brace for it. In labor, fear causes tension and tension causes pain. Pain produces more fear, and before you know it, you feel like you’re losing control and your pain levels are unmanageable!
But it’s totally possible to have an empowering birth experience — when you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed.
That’s why it’s so important to take a childbirth class that will help you to address your fears.
“This birth felt so different. So low-key. I had nothing to prove. It was normal, natural, safe, and peaceful. I was so thankful to have had a supportive partner, been able to maximize my childbirth class tools fully, and have had a care provider to support me in my home waterbirth. What a wonderful way to begin the next chapter of our life.” -Jennifer
6. Connect With Yourself And Your Partner
I love this quote:
“Wherever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.” -Ina May Gaskin
The memory of your birth — good or bad — will become a part of you…And as much as you may want to…you can’t outsource your birth to someone else. It has to be you doing the work!
A childbirth class will help you to prepare physically and emotionally for the transformational experience of birth. This process of connecting to yourself — getting rid of your fears, preparing your mind, and becoming attuned to your body — will make your labor and birth a much smoother and more positive experience.
But just because you’re doing the work, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! Your partner can be an integral part of your birth experience. A childbirth class is an amazing opportunity for the two of you to get on the same page, to prepare together, and practice comforting techniques.
You’ll feel so much more empowered knowing that your partner is on your side and will be with you every step of the way.
7.Determine Your Birth Preferences.
Every birth is a unique experience. And although you can’t control how your birth will unfold…creating a birth plan — or list of birth preferences — empowers you to become informed of all your options during labor.
Who do you want present in the delivery room?
Do you want to be offered medication for pain management? If so, what type of medication?
Do you want a natural birth and to use alternative measures for comfort?
Would an epidural be best for you? When do you want to ask for it?
Do you want to freely move around during labor?
Do you want your baby continuously monitored?
These are just some of the types of things you may have an opinion about and that you’ll want to express to your providers. Although you may have in your mind how you want your baby’s birth to be, your choices may not be heard effectively if you don’t have a birth plan.
But with so many elements to think about — before, during, and after labor — it can be hard to know where to begin.
That’s where a childbirth class can be super helpful to guide you through the process of thinking about your birth preferences. A class will help you to learn about your options so that you can decide what’s right for you.
And most importantly, a class will offer invaluable tips and tricks for writing your birth preferences in a way that your nurses will actually read!
That way you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have a tool to help communicate your wishes to those caring for you during your labor and after the birth of your baby.
8. Coordinate With Your Care Team
The last thing you want during labor is to feel like a passive participant. Or worse, to have a birth experience where you were put into a situation that you were uncomfortable with.
Birthing parents who are educated about how to advocate for themselves during birth are far more likely to have a positive birth experience––and I want that for you!
But advocating for yourself doesn’t always come easy…especially if you tend to be a people-pleaser and care about the opinions of others.
The good news is that advocating for yourself is a skill that can be learned! A childbirth class will teach you how to speak up for yourself during pregnancy, labor, and after delivery.
Most of this is learning to ask the right questions.
Learning this skill will give you more confidence, a greater sense of control, and get rid of the unknown aspects of birth.
9. Learn Coping Mechanisms.
If this is your first birth or you had a difficult previous experience… The top question on your mind probably is “How painful is it going to be?”
But the good news is that pain in childbirth is different from other types of pain:
It is NOT a signal that something is wrong. Childbirth pain helps you determine what is happening within your body, what part of labor you are in, and what actions you might take.
It is not constant. The pain comes and goes as the contractions do, giving you a chance to rest and regroup.
It is pain with a positive purpose. Childbirth pain leads to the birth of your baby, which is greatly different from the pain of injury, infection, or chronic illness.
If you’re giving birth in a hospital, your healthcare providers may offer medications and epidurals to help you handle the pain. There are also many alternative methods for coping with pain during labor. I see moms successful with natural births in the hospital ALL the time.
These techniques can help minimize the amount of pain from contractions and to cope with the pain you do feel. And they can be practiced in advance! A childbirth class will introduce you to helpful coping mechanisms like:
Relaxation and visualization exercises
Acupressure, reflexology, healing touch and massage
Learning the right tools and when to use them will help you stay relaxed and focused during labor. A good birth class will fill up your toolbox. You can replace hopeful wishing with confident expectation of a positive birth.
“I had a natural hospital birth and just followed the techniques from the childbirth class that I took. I practiced for a couple of weeks and everything became muscle memory!”
10. Have A Quicker And Easier Recovery
Certain things, like nutrition and preventative exercises can make your birth safer and your recovery easier. But, for good reason, you aren’t likely to get help with these during your prenatal appointments.
Finding and treating problems during pregnancy is your care provider’s job. Teaching you prevention and helping you reduce your risk is a childbirth educator’s job. A high quality birth course should teach you what you can do to nourish yourself during pregnancy.
Proper nutrition can improve every birth outcome, including birth weight, Apgar scores, andbreastfeeding success. It can reduce your risks for some of the most dangerous complications . such as preclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth and hemmoraghing that are not easy on mom or baby.
And, as mentioned at the beginning of this point, your recovery is much easier as well when you don’t have additional complications to your birth. Taking a class can help you know how to stay healthy, radiant and be able to enjoy your first weeks after having your baby.
Finding The Perfect Birth Class
If your birth is really important to you, you can see why birth classes area great idea. You and your baby will be safer. You will likely deepen and strengthen your friendship with your partner. Working together and having a trustful and respectful relationship with your care provider becomes easier. So are you ready to get started?
I would love to invite you to prepare for birth with me. Take a moment to check out my birth class, Birth Undone. In this course, we undo your fear, we undo excessive labor pain, and we undo your risk. Which leaves you totally prepared for a beautiful and positive beginning. Are you joining us?
If you are still exploring class options, I’d love to help you understand which types of birth classes are available to you. Check out these indepth guides on the most popular childbirth methods: Hypnobirthing, the Bradley Method and Lamaze.
Here’s to you becoming empowered, strong and loving your birth experience!